Midfielder has endured difficult start to Blues career after injuries
With the winter World Cup out in Qatar now fully underway, Gareth Southgate's England side opened up their own Group B campaign with a reasonably comprehensive victory over Iran (6-2), and preparations now continue for Friday evenings clash with the United States, before Southgate closes out the group as we have a home nations battle with Wales.
Plenty of pundits in the wider world of football have been falling over themselves to offer opinions and make their predictions about how the tournament may go for England given how close we came to a long awaited European Championship success, and former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy is no different and he recently sat down with Betway Insider to offer his own thoughts.
Murphy covered quite a few topics in the conversation and obviously he covered Southgate's selections for his 26 man squad, and as we all know there were quite a few surprises really. Leicester City's James Maddison came back in from the cold given the season he has been enjoying, but given the lack of game time in the domestic 2022/23 campaign seen by 26 year old midfielder Kalvin Phillips, he was a major surprise inclusion, as with only one game for Manchester City since the middle of September owing to injury, he will not be properly fit.
Murphy conceded it was a bit of a strange choice, but he fully expected Southgate to select him as he is a known quantity in the camp, and arguably his selection has been made with the knock out stages more in mind than the group games and for fans who like a flutter the latter stages of World Cup Betting will certainly be more interesting.
"I was pretty pleased, actually. The main thing for me was Maddison, who everyone was talking about. I've done a few live Leicester games this season and he's been tremendous. I couldn't see any reason for leaving him out. I really couldn't. Even if he's not going to start, the impact he can have with his skill, his ability to open up defences, so I was really pleased to see him in. I think there was always a feeling that Gareth would select Phillips, Walker, and Maguire and they would probably be given the chance to get themselves match fit while out there. Gareth trusts them, he's had them before."
Speaking more about Phillips specifically, with many fans being surprised with his involvement, he went on to say.
"Probably Phillips, even though I thought Gareth would select him, I was surprised because he's hardly played at all. I know we've got limited options in the midfield area, I get that, but I just think asking somebody who hasn't played any competitive football to adapt to the level of a World Cup really quickly is tough. Obviously, he wants to go, and he's played well for England before. It's not that I'm not a Phillips fan, I am, he's a really good player. I was a bit surprised by that, but I suppose, with the lack of midfield options he's got, that's why he's done it."
Phillips understandably did not feature as England opened the tournament up with victory over Iran and you really would not expect him to feature in the upcoming USA match, but as long as England are on track to qualify through to the knock out games (which you would fully expect given the make up of Group B), City fans can probably expect to see some minutes for him as he builds his fitness further for the games to come.